Woodward proves freeski popularity
February 3, 2008
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Back in 1998, a group of relatively unknown freeskiers gathered under cloudy skies in Vail to huck and spin their way down a course that consisted of only two mini-hits and a 25-foot table.
Fast forward 11 years, and the U.S. Freeskiing Open has now become one of the most anticipated freeskiing events of the year. This year’s host, Copper Mountain, recently partnered with Woodward Camps to build a winter-focused action sports facility that will provide riders with the same instruction previously only available for summer action sports like skateboarding and BMX.
Copper will break ground on the new 19,000 square foot facility in May and hopes to open it up to skiers and riders by Christmas of next year.
“Woodward at Copper is definitely going to set us apart,” said Lauren Pelletreau with Copper Mountain Resorts. “We’re starting to ask questions that have never been asked before in the sport. A lot of the athletes are saying they want to work here now.”
The new facility will explore progressive teaching tools including trampolines, foam pits, and bungee systems which will allow athletes to push the limits of their sport in a safe and supported environment.
Freeskiing is quickly climbing the ranks, although it is not an Olympic sport yet.
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“The sport is progressing so quickly and events like this help take it even farther,” said Rob Hudson, event manager at Mountain Sports Media. ” If you compare the first event 11 years ago to what we are seeing today, it’s amazing. The technical difficulty of the tricks we are seeing is above and beyond anything we could have ever imagined 11 years ago.”
Every year the U.S. Freeskiing Open find the newest talent in freeskiing, and past competitions have helped launched the careers of athletes like Tanner Hall, J.P. Auclair and T.J. Schiller.